What’s the performance down to?

Posted by Neil Ryder on 24th February 2011 – he is in training to cycle from John O’Groats to Lands End this year to raise funds for the charities supported by Wootton Bassett Town Rotary Club. Check out more of his blogs at http://www.lejog-wbtrc.co.uk/?page_id=2

So five days ago I have my first experience of ‘hitting the wall’. And today, I have my best ride over 14 miles this year (in terms of average speed and average heart rate)!

I know the average speed is affected by so many variables (there’s a great article on this in this month’s Cycling Active Magazine) but it does tend to be the first thing you look at when you get back. But when you combine it with the lowest average heart rate, there’s got to be something significant in there somewhere!

So what’s changed?

* The weather – at 06.30 in the morning! – was noticeably warmer. (It was dry and there was a slight breeze – but that’s no different from many mornings)
* I hadn’t slept any better than on other nights
* I’ve changed my handlebars to a set of butterflies and this was my first ride with them. Butterflies are slightly wider than straights and offer more hand position options (comfort – my main reason for the change). I know that others claim that the wider hand position opens up the chest and makes breathing more easy.
* I’m trying to spin at a slightly higher cadence (90-95 rpm) whilst maintaining a lower heart rate
* I’ve started taking nutritional supplements – see Tuesday’s blog. If they make such a difference so quickly then you have a miracle product on your hands Sandra Kanfer Clarke!

I suppose we’ll never know the true answer to the change in performance – but will it be maintained?

Out of interest, I did my Purton Stoke loop.

Total Distance: 14.7 m
Average Speed: 14.1 mph
Average HR: 121 bpm
Peak HR: 137 bpm

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